In January 2006 the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform and Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) completed a “Framework for Dialogue“, which among other elements, provided a process for developing collaborative research to explore questions about sea lice and the viability of closed containment aquaculture systems.
There have been some positive gains through the course of the working relationship, including negotiated safer migration routes for juvenile salmon in the Broughton Archipelago resulting in a reduction in sea-lice on wild salmon in the area. Some joint sea lice research has been launched in the Broughton Archipelago that has confirmed the benefits of the fallowing program, but this has not led to better salmon farm management at MHC farms in other areas of the coast. CAAR and MHC also launched a benefit-cost analysis comparing net-pen salmon farming to closed containment systems. A comprehensive economic model was constructed, but in January 2012 MHC cancelled the remainder of the study citing financial constraints. MHC also contracted an engineering firm to design a land-based closed containment pilot system, but cancelled the project due to a lack of funds in 2011.
Any further collaboration on longer term solutions to the problems associated with open net pen fish farming will be difficult considering these company decisions, and by MHC’s plans to expand production at some sites, something CAAR is strongly opposed to. Therefore, we no longer consider there to be any benefit in working with a corporation that is committed only to maintaining and expanding harmful net-cage operations.
Given all of the above, CAAR considers that the Framework for Dialogue is no longer a functioning working agreement or partnership.